This past year saw a surge of travel throughout destinations in Africa, with air travel across the continent approaching prepandemic levels. Safari camps from South Africa to Kenya were fully booked, and travellers lingered in popular destinations like Cape Town and Zanzibar well past peak season. What does this mean for the year ahead?
A wave of hotly anticipated luxury resorts – many of which were in the works long before grinding to a halt in the pandemic – are finally ready to throw open their doors, new air routes are making parts of the continent more accessible than ever, and popular events and festivals are enticing visitors to explore regions they may not have contemplated before. Yes, there are plenty of thrilling safari camps in the pipeline that we’re excited about, from iconic corners of Botswana to a less-visited park in Mozambique, but there’s also a compelling food movement in Accra, a milestone anniversary in Rwanda, a monumental new cultural landmark in Morocco’s capital city of Rabat, and so much more to look forward to. Could this be the year Johannesburg pries visitors away from Cape Town with a cool new city hotel and a dynamic dining scene, or when sunseekers take another look at Mauritius instead of the Maldives? Might you sail into Madagascar on an adventurous new cruising itinerary or consider adding Sierra Leone to your travel plans? Frankly, the hardest part will be choosing. Below are the best places to go in Africa in 2024. – Sarah Khan
Go for: new cultural outposts, a music festival, and shiny hotels
The Moroccan capital of Rabat may be one of the country’s four imperial cities, but it’s long been bypassed by travellers drawn to the timeworn beauty of places like Marrakech, Fez, and Tangier. That may change this year, as the city is in the midst of a cultural and artistic reinvention. One of the most talked about attractions: the forthcoming Mohammed VI Tower, designed to be LEED Gold and HQE-certified and projected to be the tallest and only spire of its kind in Africa. But perhaps even more exciting is the new Grand Theatre of Rabat opening nearby. One of legendary architect Zaha Hadid’s unfinished masterpieces, it will incorporate an 1,800-seat theatre, an experimental performance space, and a 7,000-person amphitheater, along with green spaces and a restaurant. It is set to be the largest venue of its kind in both Africa and the Arab world and will host symphony, ballet, opera, and philharmonic performances (all of the above are anticipated before 2023 comes to a close). Another hotly anticipated cultural foray is the 2024 return of the Mawazine festival, coming back this summer after a COVID-19-induced hiatus – there’s no word on a lineup yet, but in the past Africa’s largest festival has drawn A-listers like Rihanna and Mariah Carey.
A flurry of high-profile hotel openings will make for a soft landing in the city while you’re there: The newly opened Fairmont La Marina Rabat Salé and Conrad Rabat Arzana both herald a new era of modern luxury in the historic city; now, the buzz is centered around the hotly anticipated Four Seasons Hotel Rabat at Kasr Al Bahr, opening in late 2023, as well as a the planned Ritz-Carlton Rabat Dar Es Salam. – Harriet Akinyi
BY CNT EDITORS